For 19 minutes, the Dallas Stars outworked the Avalanche. Colorado looked very much like a team that had gone to a shoot out the night before. Avs goaltender Semyon Varlamov earned every bit of his $6 million contract by keeping the Stars off the board. As the clock wound down, Nick Holden took a holding penalty, but it was Carl Soderberg who had the moves. On a shorthanded bid, Soderberg skated the puck into the offensive zone all alone, made a highlight move around Dallas's Jamie Benn, and roofed one to put the Avalanche up 1-0 with less than a minute left in the opening frame.
Midway through the second, Dallas evened things up on a power play goal. During the scoring sequence, Soderberg got his stick up a bit too high, clipping the goal scorer, Jason Demers, and drawing blood for a four minute minor penalty. With one minute remaining on the second minor, Gabriel Landeskog scooped up a loose puck at the Colorado blueline and took off, coming in all alone on Anti Niemi and netting his 11th goal of the season on Colorado's first shot of the period.
The third period hummed along much like the rest of the game with Dallas dominating the Avalanche in every area but luck and goaltending when a strong shift by Mikhail Grigorenko, Matt Duchene and Andreas Martinsen ended in another Avalanche goal. Grigorenko gave the team a two-goal lead after banging home his own rebound and secured a 3-1 win for Colorado despite being outshot 43-15.
Unfortunately, Jack Skille took a bad spill during the first period and did not return. The status of his injury has not been disclosed as of this time.
Semyon Varlamov (42 saves, 1 goal against, .977 save percentage)
Gabriel Landeskog (1 goal)
Jason Demers (1 goal)
PLAY OF THE GAME
Carl Soderberg showed off some major skills in the opening goal of the game, leaving Jamie Benn scratching his head and wondering what the heck just happened.
Gabriel Landeskog's short-handed goal in the second period energized the Avalanche. The team came out stronger defensively in the third and seemed to have fresher legs than they did to start the second period.
BY THE NUMBERS
QUOTE OF THE GAME
"We're all looking at the standings, but...we still have lots of hockey left. we just need to keep going, hopefully play the (rest of the) season like we did the last two months." - Semyon Varlamov
The Avalanche move ahead of the Minnesota Wild with this win, putting them in that first Wild Card spot and, more importantly, fourth in the Division. The battle to maintain a playoff spot will continue for the remainder of the season, but for a team that was written off as early as November, its current position is a sign of increasing success.
The Avalanche continues its road trip with a stop in San Jose on Tuesday, January 26. Game time is 8:00 MST.